LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday appeared before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) here on Wednesday in connection with alleged money laundering and income beyond means investigation against her and her family members.
She recorded her statement before an investigation team of NAB for 45 minutes regarding ‘dubious’ business transactions of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) of which she was one of the major shareholders.
According to a source, the NAB team asked her about remittances in her account being major shareholder of the CSM and other details of the transactions. “She said all details in this regards are available with the report of the Joint Investigation Team formed to probe the Panama Papers case’s report,” he said.
The source revealed that in January 2018 the PML-N government’s financial monitoring unit reported to NAB a huge suspicious transaction involving billions of rupees in the M/s Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd under Anti-Money Laundering Act. “The NAB inquiry started in October 2018 detected that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif and the family of the late Abbas Sharif are shareholders in the company along with some foreigners of the UAE and the UK,” he said.
PML-N leader accuses government of using anti-graft watchdog as a victimisation tool
“Huge investments were made in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills from 2001 to 2017 in billions of rupees in the name of the foreigners issuing shares in millions to them, later on the same shares of the company were transferred back to Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif at various times without paying any consideration which led to the conclusion that names of foreigners were used as proxies to make huge investments in the company for the reason that Sharif family did not have white money for investment,” he said.
The source said Yousuf Abbas and Maryam Nawaz joined inquiry but failed to identify the foreigners who had made this investment and what the source of money was. “None of the questions were answered despite specific questions given in notices sent to Maryam Nawaz,” he said.
NAB has re-summoned Ms Nawaz on Aug 8, and asked her to provide details of her shareholdings in the CSM, details of financial relations with foreign nationals — Saeed Said bin Jabar al Suweidi, a UAE national; Sheikh Zakauddin, a UK national; Hani Ahmad Jamjoon, a Saudi national; and Naseer Abdullah Lootah, a UAE national.
She was also asked to provide details of remittances/telegraphic transfers sent and received by her from abroad.
On her arrival, PML-N workers gathered outside the Thokar Niaz Baig office of the anti-graft watchdog, showered rose petals on her car and chanted slogans in favour of their leadership and against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
On her return from the NAB office, Maryam Nawaz said in a tweet: “Back from NAB. Told them the questions about family business have been asked & answered a zillion times & nothing found even by agenda-driven JIT. But since the aim is to use NAB as a tool to harass & victimise, the theatre of the absurd continues.”
In another tweet, she said: “NAB has nothing substantive to ask. No allegation or even remote mention of any corruption, all matters inquired about over & over again pertain to the family business & even in that NOTHING illegal has ever been pointed out or committed. Selected desperately is moving in circles.”
The NAB had also summoned her ‘absconding’ brothers — Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz — for Wednesday’s investigation. They are in London.
NAB opened the investigation following the Islamabad accountability court’s rejection of its (NAB) application seeking legal proceedings against Maryam Nawaz for using a bogus trust deed in the Avenfield properties case.
Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019